আজ “ক” নিয়ে কাব্যি হোক

কুন্দনন্দিনী কাঞ্জীভরম আর কানবালায় সুসজ্জিত হয়ে চলল কাঞ্চিপুরমের কমলাক্ষ্মী মন্দিরে পুজো দিতে। কিঞ্জল কান্তিবিদ্যা চর্চা করছে সেই কান্তারমরুর দেশে। আর কল্কিনারায়ণের বাড়িতে তখন কলাবৌ স্নানের তোড়জোড়। কনিষ্ক বসে বসে কিষ্কিন্ধ্যাকান্ড পড়ছে। কৌশল্যা কোষাকুষি নিয়ে ব্যস্ত। কমল কলাপাতা কাটতে গেছে। কমলিনী আর কুন্দন কষ্টিপাথরের খোঁজ করছে। কোকিলকন্ঠী কৌশিকী কোকনদ ফোটানোয় ব্যস্ত। কাকাতুয়া ‘কোজাগরী’ ঘাড় বেঁকিয়ে সবকিছু পরখ করছে। কৈলাশেশ্বরীর পূজা চলছে কিন্তু কেউ এতটুকুও কুশল বিনিময় করছে না। সকলেই কালের কণাদে মনোনিবেশ করেছে।

অন্যদিকে কৌশানী কংসের কারাগার, কেদারনাথধাম, কনখল ঘুরে এখন কাশীতে এসেছে। কাশীশ্বরকে পুজো দিয়ে ও কচৌরি গলিতে ঢুকল কচুরি খেতে। কমলাভোগ ওর খুব প্রিয়। কেশরীজির কুঠী হল ওর কাশীর আস্তানা। কাশীতে ওর পরিচয় হয়েছে কিয়েভবাসী কেভিনের সঙ্গে; কেভিন কাঠিয়াবাবার শিষ্য।

কৃষ্ণরাজ এখন কলকাতা ছেড়ে অনেকদূরে, সুদূর কাবুলে। কষা মাংস আর কবিরাজী খায়নি অনেকদিন হল। কিয়ারার সান্নিধ্যেও কঙ্কাবতীকে এতটুকু ভোলেনি ও। কঙ্কাবতী এদিকে কার্ডিফে বসে কাস্টার্ড খাচ্ছে। কৃশান্যা, কৌমুদী, কর্ণিকরা কস্মিনকালেও কল্কিবাড়িতে পুজো দেখতে আসেনি; কেশব কাজিরাঙা বেড়াতে গেছে; কানাইলাল কাজু, কিসমিস, কেসর সহযোগে কাশ্মীরী পোলাও রাঁধতে ব্যস্ত । এরা সকলেই কল্কিবাড়ির সদস্য ! সৌভাগ্য/দুর্ভাগ্যবশত একমাত্র সেটিই এখন যোগাযোগের সুতো।

“Thanksgiving & Hilsa”

Story of a geek guy with Hilsa memories:-

It was probably your way of “Thanksgiving”. You had cooked two Hilsa preparations and invited me to relish the same. I was scared to accept your invitation. I was scared to invade your home with my ruffled thoughts of last summer. However, I couldn’t resist the idea of having food made by you; I couldn’t resist the idea of looking at you without any interruption. You are so irresistible!

When I reached, your captivating smile and a delicious aroma of freshly cooked mustard Hilsa welcomed me; I felt like home.

“I thought you will not come; still I hoped against hope…” She smiled at me.
“You invited me…how can I skip?” I assured trying to forget the issues called ‘past’.
“Thanks.” You led me to the dining table and I noticed a row of ornamental vines hanging happily near the balcony. A few paper-made wall hangings are trying to give the home a happy look. You are trying earnestly to act like a happy person. Sadly, I too act like, everything is okayed.
And then, the celestial moment came. You served me rice, “Sorshe Illish” (mustard hilsa) and “Illish bhapa” (steamed hilsa). I was elated with food and you, both.  The pungent green chillies and notorious mustard seeds set my taste buds on fire. I was untying the banana leaves to expose the queen of fish and you were looking at my finger movements.
“What’s it dear?”
“Nothing,” you chuckled, “you eat very slowly.”

“I am just cautious” I replied.

“Are you afraid of fish bones?” you laughed musically and I smiled like a stupid dolt.
“Let me separate the bones…”
“No, it’s okay; I’ll manage.”
You made me eat four pieces of fish. Deep inside, I felt something strong for you; I am still drunk of you just like before. Your yellow-green saree was so enticing. You are like my mom; so loving yet so pungent.
I was a bit uneasy while having the fish. I was trying not to wet my eyes with memories; I was attentive to behave normally.  

I couldn’t say, “I still love you.” But that day felt like a dawn of civilization; so new and so fresh. I consumed the food made by you. I consumed the purest form of “amrito”. I couldn’t ask for more.

She softly started, “For once I wanted to feel like I am your wife. For once, I ate after my beloved finished his meal. For once, I felt like I am living my dream.” She stopped and I looked at her teary eyes. I felt like I was alive to listen her musical voice and these words.

©Joyee

গণেশপুজো

গণেশপুজো চলছে। থরে থরে সাজানো আছে মোদক আর লাড্ডু।
এক বখাটে মোদক একভাবে চেয়ে আছে লাড্ডুর দিকে। লাড্ডু একবার ওর দিকে তাকাল কটমট করে।

মোদক: তুমি সবসময় আমার দিকে এমন কটমট করে তাকাও কেন? আমায় ভালবাসতে ইচ্ছে করে না!
লাড্ডু: রাগ হবে না? তোমরা তো একাই গণপতির দখল নিয়ে বসে আছো।
মোদক: মোটেও না। আমি তো অপেক্ষা করে বসে আছি কবে তুমি এসে সবকিছুর দখল নেবে।
লাড্ডু: সে আবার কি!
মোদক: হ্যাঁ! এক ভয়াবহ যুদ্ধ হবে, মোদককুলের সাথে লাড্ডুদের। যুদ্ধে মোদকরা পরাজিত হবে। গণপতির পুজোয় লাড্ডু সমাজের একাধিপত্য প্রতিষ্ঠা পাবে আর আমার সামনে বসা এই মিষ্টি লাড্ডু আমার জীবনের অধিকার নেবে। এই চাওয়াটুকু কি খুব বেশী ??
লাড্ডু: বালই ষাট!! যুদ্ধ হবে কেন?
মোদক: যা দিনকাল সব দিকে শুধু যুদ্ধ। কোথাও ঢাল তলোয়ার শূল বল্লম নিয়ে, কোথাও খাওয়া নিয়ে তো কোথাও আবার কথার যুদ্ধ!

The shade of yellow

The afternoon was sunny. We fought with words and slayed each other with the swords of hatred and love. And you left never looking back, never giving a fig. Your yellow dress slowly mingled with other people walking in the busy street. I stood there, alone, motionless, broken and upset. I looked at the street lights, the crowd and felt the boisterous noises surrounding me. I found myself standing before a very famous café and people inside might be engaged either in small talks or heavy conversations. They might be enjoying their cappuccino or espresso. The lights inside the cafe were pale yellow. That very shade of yellow carries a color of frustration. I lit up a cigarette.

By chance, my eyes caught a couple inside the café; they were too adorable, intensely engrossed in each other, sipping the cold coffee from the same long glass. I felt bad…for myself, for my girlfriend and for our love.

Evening is the time when you are bound to be alone or sad. I tried to control myself, stop my tears, tried to look at other girls walking in stilettos and hotpants. I tried to avert myself from her thoughts. I lit up another cigarette. The smoldering fire was trying to calm me down. I remembered how many counters we shared. Again my eyes rolled into the cafe. The lights inside were still dim but slightly brighter than earlier due to the upcoming darkness. And finally it darkened. I decided to have something from the cafe and walked inside. The sweet creamy pastry seemed insipid to me and the milky coffee didn’t give me any charm. I ordered a cupcake. It came in a white dish; the cake topped with a little chocolate ball and a little candy floss. Surprisingly I enjoyed it like girls do. I enjoyed the cupcake as if she was with me. Slowly, the thought separation walked out of my head and I only thought of the still fresh memories. I remembered how much she loved the cupcakes.

I looked at the streets. A child was selling roses. Another child was busy selling balloons to a child sitting inside a car. I packed a box of cakes and went outside. The busy city walks around, rides bikes and cars never showing some love to the street children.

When I distributed the cakes among children I saw the café lights glowing in brightest shade of yellow.

©Joyee

A lot can happen over a plate of momo

They say, “A lot can happen over a cup of coffee”. I say, “A lot can happen over a plate of momo.” It is a story of a plate of hot piping momos and how it had become one of the good vibes of my life. My city was truly busy enjoying the sudden 9°C temperature; the crazy north winds shivered my bones, a multicolored muffler protected me from cold, a glass of hot ginger tea from a roadside tea stall gave me some comfort, the swarming crowd near Esplanade metro made me realize the presence of strenuous Monday and then, adventitiously you appeared before me when I just ordered a plate of chicken momo. God knows, why you had to come on the same stall to have the momos.

You are not my parallel, not my almost, not my ex, but something I can’t name. You looked at me whenever you got slightest opportunity, I even caught you smiling when I passed by on office corridor. Sadly, you never made any move to talk to me; probably you were happy just seeing me there just like people enjoy an elegant piece of art in a museum. I was stupid enough to believe, you were in love, in love with me; but I was so wrong.

“Hello Jinny” your sudden voice made me look at you; you are in a brownish yellow jacket and black jeans. You were looking really handsome.
“Hi” I responded slowly.
“How are you?”
This time I had to smile, “Like you care!” I felt some spots of guilt in your face as you looked at the billboards to avoid my intense gaze. A few minutes had passed without any words from any side. I patiently waited for the momos to come. I was astounded to realize we just talked for the first time.
“I do care…and stupid enough to realize things very late.”
I had to laugh at his words; a man calling himself stupid is a nice thing to watch.
“Thank God, you realized…sooner or later!” I sighed throwing my words; he too sighed. I saw a strange kind of pain in his eyes but soon he turned it into an awkward smile. Then, a comfortable silence clinged us into a nameless thread. Perhaps, time stood still for a while and we too. I didn’t feel uneasy; he didn’t feel any urge to look away. I didn’t notice when we both started having the mouth watering chicken momos.
“The momos are really delicious, aren’t they?” he said to break the silence. I just nodded. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want him know my helplessness, my loneliness. Probably he was eager to say ‘you look beautiful’, or ‘remember me’ or ‘let’s exchange the numbers’; I was eager to say, ‘let’s stay in touch’ or ‘let’s go for a walk’. Sadly, we ended up saying “goodbye”. We moved away without exchanging phone numbers, without looking back, with a constant effort to behave like a normal person. And once again head won over heart.

©Joyee

A bowl of prawns and you

Prawn is my favorite and so is you. You got pungent words, marvellous looks and irresistible attitude…just like prawns cooked in Bengali style with lots of spice, poppy seeds, coconut milk and pulp. I often think you are the human version of our “Daab chingri.”

On a sunny summer Sunday noon, you showed up at my doorstep with a box of milky, spicy prawns. I was about to order something from ‘Swiggy’ and your appearance made me cancel the plan. I was so startled with your action that couldn’t even say a word for five minutes and you kept grinning impishly. I always knew that my girl doesn’t cook, can’t cook and will never cook just because ‘she is a girl !’

“Why do you bring this?”

“Because it is your favorite!” she chuckled.

“Did you cook yourself?” I had to ask.

“Yes!!” said she while transferring the prawns from box to bowl,  “A girl should not always cook but a little cooking doesn’t hurt.”

“Wow! I am changing you” I rejoiced just to make her angry.

“Not really, little boy” She said in sarcastic tone, “Now you have to prepare the rice.”

However, she helped me preparing the rice too. And it was a grand lunch with rice and “Daab chingri”. It was really a gala day for my taste buds. The prawns bathed in coconut milk just like a Cleopatra in goat milk and we relished the dish like ‘heaven is now here’, in our taste buds. I have never had such a quaint taste in restaurant food; the food was homely yet delicious.

When we finished the food, my heart was fuller than stomach. I asked her the reason behind such a treat while still busy on licking my fingers.

“I have finally dumped my bastard boyfriend to be with you,” she embraced me in a bear hug. I have always wanted this to happen. It should be like dream coming into reality for me. But sadly, I couldn’t. I just stood still stupidly. I felt sorry for him who once was my enemy.

Finally my crush is saying “Yes” when I least expected it. All my thoughts went to ‘that bastard’ who is my current best friend !!

©Joyee

Pic courtesy: Afraa